A degree level apprentice whose research project saved her employer thousands of pounds, a mother of four who has begun a new career as a dairy herdsperson and an animal scientist whose dissertation uncovered unusual bird behaviour were among top graduates to receive awards at a belated ceremony for the Class of 2021 from University Centre Reaseheath (UCR).
Our graduands joined peers from the University of Chester, our academic partner, at a spectacular graduation ceremony at held in Chester’s historic cathedral last week. The ceremony should have been held in November 2021 but was postponed due to the Covid pandemic.
Almost 300 UCR graduands were awarded degrees in agricultural science, animal management, canine clinical behaviour, equine science, zoo management, wildlife conservation and ecology, landscape architecture, adventure sports and coaching, rural events management, dairy technology and food science.
Warmly welcoming our Class of 2021, Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Chester, said: “It is a great honour to congratulate you on this long awaited day. You can now celebrate your special achievement, as you have studied through challenging times and have shown resilience and determination. This is a significant point in your lives and we have no doubt that you will continue to flourish.”
Professor Simmons emphasised that our 2021 graduates could emulate former graduates who have progressed still further in their scientific studies by completing Masters in Research in areas as diverse as oceanography, animal behaviour and ecology. There are also others who are making significant contributions by working with leading pharmaceutical companies and zoos or as consultants or lecturers, including one graduate who is now part of the lecturing team at UCR.
Eight UCR graduates were singled out for special recognition on our Dean’s List :
Meredydd David Award for Academic and Technical Excellence
Stephanie Nish (FdSc Dairy Technology) Nominated by Mike Bennett
Currently Environment, Health and Safety Co-ordinator for Arla Foods, Lockerbie, Steph studied at Reaseheath’s industry standard Food Centre as an apprentice dairy technologist on our degree level Eden programme.
She carried out her research project by applying sophisticated technology at her workplace to determine the criteria for optimum firmness of cheese curd at cut. She used this data to modify the recipe for her employer’s cheese manufacturing process, resulting in much improved fat retention which in turn increased cheese yields.
Her research, which was supervised by our highly qualified lecturers, earned Steph two major awards and industry-wide acclaim – as well as financially benefitting her employer.
Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Research (Dissertation)
Beth Hewes (BSc Zoo Management) Nominated by Ellie Rose
Beth was applauded for her scientific excellence after producing an exceptional dissertation on the behaviour of Atlantic puffins within a breeding colony on Skomer Island.
Using video footage, she determined that lone puffins join paired puffins in specific behaviours, with her study showing excellent interpretation of data and extensive exploration of relevant research.
Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement and Personal Progression
Sarah Pettitt (FdSc Agriculture) Nominated by Tom Furness
A mature student and mother of four, Sarah progressed onto her degree from UCR’s Access to HE course. She consistently submitted excellent academic work alongside a part time role on Reaseheath’s farm and domestic duties which included home schooling.
With no previous experience or knowledge of the agricultural industry, Sarah graduated with distinction and is now a full time dairy herdsperson at Reaseheath. She is particularly interested in farm animal health.
Also nominated for Dean’s Award:
Rhiannon Duberley (BSc Zoo Management)
Abbie Starsmeare (BSc Animal Management)
Jemma Harwood (BSc Zoo Management)
Samantha Jones (FdA Rural Events Management)
Matthew Cruxton (BSc Zoo Management)
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